from the think-of-the-children dept
One of the most ridiculous extensions of patent coverage in the past few decades was the decision to allow patents on "genes" for those who discover the genes. Patents aren't supposed to be allowed for things occurring in nature, and it's difficult to see how that doesn't apply to something as basic as genes. Yet, as an anonymous reader wrote in to point out, down in Australia, a company with a patent on a specific gene is causing babies with a severe form of epilepsy to have to delay both diagnosis and treatment. In fact, the delay in treating the babies may miss the sweet spot for treating the disease and preventing brain damage. When patents are being used to stop diagnosing a patient with a serious disease, we should all be asking how the system went so wrong.